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Guild Wars 2 personal story: Massively's interview with Ree Soesbee

Rubi Bayer, @@rubi_

Guild Wars 2 Lore & Continuity Designer Ree Soesbee gave the Guild Wars community some very welcome information earlier this week. The concept of a personal storyline in Guild Wars 2 is something that's been hinted at for a while now, and Ree's blog post filled out the details of this idea nicely.

As always, it left the fans wanting to know much more, so ArenaNet spent some quality time on different forums finding out what some of the most frequently-asked questions were. Ree then followed up on her previous post by answering those questions.

We at Massively had plenty of our own questions too, so Ree was kind enough to take some time out of her busy schedule and chat with us. Follow along after the jump to see what else she had to say about personal story in Guild Wars 2.

Massively: The announcement of a home instance in your racial capital city is exciting news and, from the details given, it sounds like ArenaNet has taken traditional MMO personal housing and greatly improved it. How detailed is the personalization in home instances? It's a given that a Charr will have a completely different style of home than an Asura, but will a Sylvari Elementalist have a different style than a Sylvari of a different class? What sort of differences would we see between the home of a friendly, outgoing character and an introverted one, for example?

Ree Soesbee: Your home instance (which consists of an area about the size of a city block, within your character's racial city, where you have the racial equivalent of a house – a lab, for the asura, for example – several streets, some merchant's areas, and other city-like things) will reflect your character's victories, their accomplishments, and the people they meet in the game. It will not reflect your class, except where your class contributes to the storylines you receive in the game. Your character's personality might change your storyline, making a difference in the characters you choose to meet and befriend, and that might affect the home instance by having different people show up to visit you there.

Will we be able to bring others into our homes by grouping with them, like we do in the Hall of Monuments?


Speaking of the Hall of Monuments, the concept of your personalized instance changing as you accomplish things in-game sounds awfully familiar. Was the HoM introduced as a lead-in to the home instances? What sort of similarities will we see between the two?

Sadly, I can't answer any questions about the Hall of Monuments or its affects on GW2 at this time. I can say that the personal home instances in GW2 will take into account your character's actions and storylines in that game, and we plan to tailor the home instance area to the storylines you complete, and take into account the decisions you make in your story.

The biography at character creation sets the foundation for your character's personal story. How detailed can we get in creating the background? For example, will there be a wide variety of answers to the preset roster of questions? How much does the roster vary according to race and class?

There are approximately ten questions that you answer (right now, it's probably somewhere between seven and twelve, but we'll see how development proceeds ). The questions have multiple-choice answers that may be tailored to your race, class, or personality choices. Several of the questions are specific to earlier choices -- race, for example. A Charr will not be asked questions about the human queen; a Sylvari would not be asked about their first magical invention. In that way, we've made sure that each race has unique stories that are tailored to the interests, culture, and lore of that individual race.

It sounds like character creation is much more advanced than what we know now. How nuanced is it? For example, will there be a selection of preset choices for things like skin tone, eye and hair color, or will we be able to play with shading? What about clothing at the outset? Will every character of the same race, sex, and class have the same starter clothing?

Sorry, I can't talk about too much of that right now. I'm sure our artists will be excited to comment on this in the future!

How much effect can you have on the personal stories of your fellow players? If two players cross paths by chance and wind up assisting one another, will events play out to make it more beneficial to continue on together?

You control your personal story; the only other players that can become involved in it are those you invite into your group. Players that you ask to play through parts of your personal story with you can help -- but in the end, the decisions in that story are yours to make. While your friends will be rewarded for assisting you, you will be the one to decide how the story progresses, and you will be the hero of the tale.

Thank you so much for your time, Ree!

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